SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is a family attraction that features marine animal species mostly found in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic Ocean. It is located near the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. The park officially opened on 28 November 2008 and currently contains underwater exhibits displayed in 11 themed zones.
SEA LIFE Melbourne’s Themed Zones
The Penguin Playground
The Penguin Playground exhibit, located on the ground floor, features two types of penguin species: the King and Gentoo penguins. Visitors can marvel as they watch the majestic penguins slip and slide across the ice and splash in the penguin pool. For an additional fee, visitors can experience a 75-minute penguin tour and go behind the glass for a close encounter with these cute little creatures.
The Coral Caves
The Coral Caves is an aquarium tunnel located at Level B1. It features tropical reef fish such as clown anemonefish, blue tang and lionfish.
The Bay of Rays
Bay of Rays is a crawl-through heads up display located on the ground floor of the building. It provides a magnificent view of the underwater world of Port Phillip Bay. The display’s main features are the Fiddler rays and the iconic Port Jackson sharks. Other marine creatures that can be found here are the Sawfish, Bowmouth shark, White Spotted Eagle ray, and the Giant Smooth ray.
Mangroves and Rockpools
These are interactive displays located on the ground floor. The Discovery Rockpool is a touch-and-feel exhibit where visitors can get their hands wet and touch the beautiful Sea stars and shark eggs. The Mangrove Nursery, on the other hand, is a playground area for juvenile fish.
The Crocodile Lair
The Crocodile Lair is a two-level exhibit featuring one of the largest saltwater crocodiles in Australia – the Pinjarra. SEA LIFE’s team included this display in the park in an attempt to educate visitors about the saltwater crocodile’s ecological importance. SEA LIFE’s team breed, rescue and protect these marine animals in order to conserve their species.
The Mermaid Garden
The Mermaid Garden is a 2.2 million-litre Oceanarium located on Level B2 of SEA LIFE Melbourne. Emulating an enchanting underwater paradise, it provides a breathtaking panoramic view of huge Smooth stingrays, massive Grey Nurse sharks and multi-coloured marine creatures.
The Coral Atoll
The Coral Atoll is a colourful marine display that is home to several species like Green Moray eels, Southern Blue Tang and other vibrant creatures.
The Interactive Wonder Wall
The Interactive Wonder Wall is a new, immersive, digital installation in the park. The sensors follow actions that mimic underwater movements such as swimming or swaying, and the background moves along with it. Bubbles also show up on the wall’s water when you wave your hand, while everything stands still when you do.
The Shipwreck Explorer
The Shipwreck Explorer is an exhibit that takes visitors on a journey below the sea surface. It features the largest marine animals that call SEA LIFE Melbourne home. It also comes with an Ocean Theatre holding presentations about marine life. The shows run daily every hour from 12 pm to 3 pm.
The Seahorse Pier
The Seahorse Pier exhibit is home to the magnificent seahorse and sea dragon species. It also features Giant Cuttlefish and Leafy Sea Dragons. The exhibit is part of the internationally-recognised Weedy Seadragon breeding program, as well.
The Rainforest Adventure is an exhibit that brings visitors to the tropical north. It houses the unique Australian rainforest animals such as Lungfish, freshwater turtles, snakes, lizards and frogs. It also features Archerfish and Boyd’s Forest Dragon.
Other Activities and Tours
Shark Dive Xtreme
This activity provides a rare up-close encounter with the king of the ocean – the sharks! SEA LIFE Melbourne boasts of this dive as a guaranteed diving encounter with no cages or barriers that will separate divers from the marine creatures. Only visitors aged 14 and up are allowed to avail of this tour, but no prior diving experiences are required.
Penguin Passport is a 45-minute on-ice tour of the King and Gentoo’s manmade habitat. Visitors will get to go behind the glass, play and interact with the cheeky creatures of the Antartica. They will also get to see and learn how SEA LIFE Melbourne penguin keepers take care of the colony.
Glass Bottom Boat
The Glass Bottom Boat provides a top view, behind-the-scenes access to the park’s 2.2 million litre-oceanarium. The highlight of this tour is seeing the massive stingrays pop up right next to visitors as they are hand-fed by the SEA LIFE guide. Visitors will also get a closer look at sharks, giant groupers and other marine species that reside in SEA LIFE Melbourne. The tour runs daily from 12 pm to 1 pm, accommodating only 7 people per tour.
SEA LIFE Melbourne also offers guided school tours for kinder, primary and secondary school levels. There’s also a self-guided tour available for students and explorers who want to go on an underwater adventure on their own pace.